Tag Archives: pay rise

If Matt Hancock ‘lost two people’ to coronavirus, why won’t he sort out the UK’s response?

Super-spreader: despite having had the coronavirus himself, Matt Hancock still ignores his own advice. This was at the opening of the Nightingale hospital at the Excel Centre in London. What a poor example.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock looked very emotional when he said he “lost two people” to coronavirus at yesterday’s press conference.

At the same time, he announced that the UK as a whole had lost a further 621 people to the disease since the day before.

This is all because of government incompetence in failing to conduct proper tests, failing to bring in important personal protective equipment and ventilators, and failing to impose social distancing at the right time.

But you won’t hear Mr Hancock eulogising about that.

Matters have become so bad in parts of the NHS that health workers have been reduced to wearing bin bags for protection.

The shortage of equipment is now so bad that some NHS staff are having it taken away from them.

At least one has quit the service altogether because of it:

It’s easy to understand why anybody would make this move – especially when the Health Secretary himself cannot be bothered to find out how many nurses have died after catching the virus due to lack of PPE:

He won’t be aware of the death of John Alagos:

He won’t know about the death of Liz Glanister:

He certainly won’t know about the Scottish carer who has passed away:

https://twitter.com/labourleft/status/1247087770222411776

Hancock himself – despite having had the virus himself – regularly ignores his own advice on how to stop it from spreading:

And here’s the punchline: Asked to give nurses a pay rise (possibly due to the increased danger his government’s decisions have created for them), Hancock said, “Now is not the time.”

If not now… when?

Source: Matt Hancock emotional as he says he’s ‘lost two people’ to coronavirus – Mirror Online

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BBC spits in supporters’ faces with huge pay rises while forcing OAPs to pay licence fee

I was willing to support the BBC over the licence fee controversy, because it’s the Tory government that is forcing pensioners aged over 75 to pay.

But this new move by the Corporation makes no sense at all.

In a move that seems intended to push supporters away, BBC bosses have announced wage hikes averaging nearly £7,000 per person and accounting for a £7.9 million slice of the licence fee.

The money could have paid the £154.50 annual licences for around 51,000 pensioners.

This is not responsible use of the licence fee when people whose annual income is only slightly more than this pay rise are being forced to fund huge income increases for already very rich BBC employees.

BBC bosses are under fire after it was revealed staff received bumper pay rises while free TV licences are being withdrawn to the over-75s.

Salary increases of between 10% and 20% were handed to 889 staff – and 256 were given more than 20%.

The news has been blasted by campaigners for OAP rights.

Source: BBC dishes out over 1,000 huge pay rises while it axes pensioners’ TV licences – Mirror Online

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Theresa May’s evil choice for schools: They’ll have to axe staff to afford teacher pay rises

Theresa May: She may think she’s the Joker but this gag isn’t funny at all.

Theresa May seems to have modelled her pay offer to schools on the choices presented by the Joker, as played by the late Heath Ledger, in the movie The Dark Knight.

Her government has promised teachers a pay rise of up to 3.5 per cent, providing £508 million to pay for it.

Head teachers have made it clear that this offer is not enough. They say they will have to cover the first one per cent of the pay offer from their own budgets – which won’t be able to cope.

So, if their teachers are to enjoy the increase, heads will have to cut working hours (meaning there will be no financial benefit to teachers and their workload will increase) or impose redundancies (meaning teachers will be better-paid but their workload will increase hugely).

That’s the kind of choice offered by the Joker in the movie mentioned above; the only way to win something valuable is to lose something valuable.

An example from the film is when the Joker rigs explosives on two ferries, one containing citizens and the other transporting criminals, and tells the passengers that he will destroy both boats unless one blows up the other; anyone taking that offer would survive – by becoming a mass murderer.

Mrs May’s offer to schools may not seem quite so extreme – but it could be argued that she is deliberately attacking our nation’s future.

The school pupils of today are the doctors, nurses, teachers, industrial leaders, scientists and thinkers of tomorrow. If their teachers are worked into the ground, how are they going to help these kids reach their full potential?

They won’t.

And that is what Mrs May wants – because she thinks it is more important to maintain the artificial advantage that the rich have over the poor than it is to give everyone in the UK an opportunity to succeed.

Schools face having to axe staff to afford teacher pay rises, ­heads have warned.

Under a recent Government pay settlement, teachers will get up to 3.5% extra, which ministers have boasted is “fully funded” through a £508 million grant.

But an open letter from four union chiefs to PM Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond says schools must cover the first 1% from their own budgets, already at “breaking point”.

Without extra funding, they fear schools will have to cut working hours or make staff redundant to afford it.

Source: Schools ‘will have to axe staff to afford teacher pay rises’ warn heads in open letter – Mirror Online

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It looks like the General Strike This Site proposed is well on the way to becoming a reality

Jeremy Corbyn called on trade unions to support the most vulnerable working people when he spoke at their annual congress.

Isn’t it interesting, how Tory promises – such as their claim to be ending the one-per-cent pay cap on public sector workers’ wages – seem worthwhile when first announced and then turn into the verbal equivalent of a steaming pile of horse manure when you get into the detail?

That’s certainly the case here, and prison officers are right to reject the derisory, below-inflation pay offer being flung at them by the minority Conservative government.

It is still – effectively – a pay cut! Why would anybody in their right mind accept that, when the Tories and their donors are funnelling enormous above-inflation pay rises into their offshore bank accounts, or wherever they stash the cash?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned what he called the “epidemic” of low pay in his speech to the TUC Congress.

He said: “This epidemic of low pay, which is closely tied up with insecurity at work, ruins people’s lives, leaving workers and their families locked in poverty. It damages the economy as people have less to spend. It costs us all because it means more paid in tax credits and housing benefit from the public purse and it means less tax being paid to fund public services.”

He praised unions that have tackled low-paying employers, such as Unite with SportsDirect and the Bakers’ Union with McDonald’s, whose boss is paid 1,300 times more than the lowest-paid of his staff.

Mr Corbyn said: “Theresa May could not bring herself to utter one word of condemnation of McDonald’s or SportsDirect. This from the Prime Minister who tried to rebrand the Conservatives as the ‘workers’ party’. No, I didn’t buy it either.”

And neither should the rest of us.

The Tories have a chance to make their promise matter today (September 13), when the Commons will vote on a Labour demand for the one-per-cent pay cap to be lifted and for public sector workers to be properly recompensed for the work they do.

If the organisation that wants to call itself the “Party of the Workers” can’t bring itself to support the motion – or fails to act on it if it is passed – then the UK will come one step closer to the general strike This Writer suggested earlier this week.

It won’t actually be a general strike in the sense of being called by a single person or organisation and all unionised workers striking; Mark Serwotka, leader of the PCS union, explained on the BBC’s Daily Politics yesterday that unions could simply co-ordinate individual strikes to happen on the same dates, to much the same effect.

Of course, some may question the amount of good that may be done by a strike, and it’s a fair point. But then, how much good will be done by Parliament voting us into an effective dictatorship by a minority government, as has already happened this week?

Jeremy Corbyn has backed the prison officers’ union’s decision to reject the government’s ‘pathetic’ pay rise offer.

Number 10 today announced they were to break the 1% pay cap on public sector increases, offering prison officers a 1.7% increase. Police officers will be offered a 1% increase with a further 1% bonus for the year.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) today said any below-inflation pay offer would be rejected because their officers play a “vital role in keeping society safe”.

And TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said “this below-inflation pay offer is pathetic”.

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn backs prison officers union’s decision to reject ‘pathetic’ pay offer


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‘Cheques like confetti’ as ‘redundant’ NHS managers are rehired at cost

Bad budgeting: The NHS has spent far more money firing and re-hiring pen-pushers than it is willing to give in increased pay to nurses. In what twisted system is that fair? [Image: BBC]

Bad budgeting: The NHS has spent far more money firing and re-hiring pen-pushers than it is willing to give in increased pay to nurses. In what twisted system is that fair? [Image: BBC]

The Coalition’s ‘reformed’ NHS has been spending a fortune on re-hiring managers it had previously given large redundancy payments – while Jeremy Hunt has been telling us there is no money to give nurses a pay rise.

Tory health minister Dan Poulter (the Health Secretary himself was nowhere to be heard) had to admit that 3,950 staff whose jobs were made redundant after May 2010 have since been hired back, in response to a Parliamentary question from Labour’s Julie Hilling. The figures cover a period up to November last year, so the true number may be even more.

These are managers who received large payoffs as part of the £3-4 billion ‘restructuring’ of the National Health Service that began before Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act was passed by Parliament.

The aim, as revealed in Nicholas Timmins’ Never Again: The Story of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, was defined by Oliver Letwin as “encouraging staff to quit public sector employment while selling their services back through social enterprise”. In other words, after losing their jobs in the ‘old’ NHS – and receiving large redundancy settlements for the inconvenience – managers were to be re-hired at high cost to the ‘new’ NHS.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham had this to say: “It’s clear that people who received payoffs are now coming back to the NHS in ever greater numbers. We need to know whether the Prime Minister has honoured his promise to recover redundancy payments from people who have been re-employed by his new organisations.

“The sickening scale of the waste caused by Cameron’s reorganisation is finally becoming clear. It will infuriate people who can’t get a GP appointment or nurses who are struggling to pay the bills.”

He pointed out: “It will be utterly galling for nurses who’ve just had a pay cut from David Cameron to see he’s been handing out cheques like confetti to people who have now been rehired.

“On his watch, we have seen payoffs for managers and pay cuts for nurses.”

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Concern over union leader’s sudden death

140311crowIs anyone else just a little uneasy about the sudden death of RMT Union leader Bob Crow?

He died early this morning (Tuesday, March 11), according to the union, at the age of 52. Apparently he had suffered an aneurysm and heart attack, and passed away at Whipps Cross University Hospital.

Only yesterday, he had been widely reported as having spoken out in support of the controversial plan for an 11 per cent pay rise for MPs.

He said they should be “paid adequately” so they could have “decent accommodation”, and to ensure that those who are not independently wealth are not deterred from public service, according to the BBC.

Mr Crow was rumoured to earn £145,000 himself, against which the MP pay rise to £74,000 seems meagre. He has been criticised by the Conservative Party for continuing to live in council accommodation instead of buying his own house and, taken in this context, his words yesterday take on extra meaning.

Was he commenting on the way MPs who have been exposed after committing financial irregularites have continually excused themselves by saying they needed the money? Our Parliamentary representatives have been in the news almost constantly since 2009, accused of expenses fraud, or discrepancies to do with their second homes. Even part-time Chancellor George Osborne had a flutter – using taxpayers’ money to make £1 million on a house and land in his constituency, that he claimed he was using for professional purposes (this claim has never been substantiated).

He was definitely saying that people with pupblic service responsibilities need the wherewithal to carry out those duties without exposing themselves to financial hardship – and it would be hard for MPs to criticise his own living arrangements after he had spoken up for theirs.

Also, it is entirely possible that he was looking ahead to a post-2015 Parliament with far fewer Conservative MPs. In this context, it would be a (rare) unselfish act for the current ruling parties in Parliament to approve a pay rise for their opponents!

Now he is dead, and perhaps there is nothing suspicious about it.

Perhaps.

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Isn’t it time Labour’s plan for jobs and growth was different from the Coalition’s?

hmv“If you’re a student, and you have to pay a fee to go to university… You end up with a debt of 12,500 quid, you marry another student – £12,500, well, 25,000 quid; you then try to get a house because you want to start a family – that’s 40,000 – you start life with a debt of £60,000! I tell you, it would be great, convenient, to a future employer because someone with a debt of 60,000 quid is not going to cause any trouble; otherwise they might lose their job and so on.” Tony Benn, speaking circa 2002.

One has to admire Tony Benn for his powers of prophecy!

Clearly, he was able to look nearly a decade into the future to foretell the coming of a government for whom the imposition of a £9,000-per-year tax on learning – by universities themselves, not the government itself – was a desirable outcome. Right?

Wrong. He was talking about the introduction of those fees by Labour in 1998. The Labour government increased the amount it was possible to charge in tuition top-up fees in 2004, a couple of years after Mr Benn uttered the words I quote above.

Labour was on the slippery slope, even then. The party of the people had lost sight of the effects such policies would have on them. Why? Because the lure of business-oriented advisors was so strong. “Here’s where the money is,” it seems they were saying. “Come with us.”

What a shame they were talking about money for them, rather than the UK as a whole. Mr Benn’s prediction about student debt was – if I may be so tasteless as to say so – bang on the money and now we’ve got a lot of people labouring (sorry!) under serious debt.

It was a mistake.

Look at the credit boom in the early 2000s, when banks and other organisations were throwing money at people willy-nilly (or so it seems today). We know from analyses made after the 2008 crash that little attempt was made to evaluate borrowers’ creditworthiness, and hindsight suggests we should not be surprised that so many of them proved to be completely unable to clear those debts, with many borrowing even more in order to meet the interest repayments they had incurred. Eventually, people started to default, and in huge numbers. What did the lenders expect?

That was a mistake – not just by our (and others’) government, but by the major lending institutions of the UK and the western world.

Look at Workfare. Labour wanted to bring it in, despite the results of repeated studies before the 2010 election that showed workfare programmes did not increase the likelihood of finding paid employment and could instead reduce that prospect by limiting the time available for job searches and by failing to provide the skills and experience valued by employers.

Then the 2010 election happened and Labour got the boot. So instead, the Conservative-led Coalition government brought it in. Interesting, that. It’s almost as if the same people had been advising both parties on employment policy, don’t you think?

We all know the effect of Workfare. By going into organisations – including profit-making companies that are perfectly capable of employing staff in their own right – and providing free labour for them, the government not only stops those firms from actually taking on new staff – it depresses wages by ensuring current staff cannot ask for a pay rise; bosses can now simply give them their marching orders and ask for more support from Workfare.

In a nation that desperately needs to increase its tax income, to pay off a rocketing national debt, that has to be a mistake, right?

Well, no.

We can see that it is planned because the effect of the Coalition’s Benefits Uprating Bill will be the same – by ensuring the unemployed must chase every job available – no matter how low-paid – because benefit no longer covers their costs and they run the risk of losing everything they own, the government is also ensuring that people who are already in low-paid jobs live in fear that their contracts will be dropped in favour of employing people who will take less.

So: not a mistake, after all.

Or is it?

The UK economy has taken three major hits over the last week or so. First Honda cut 800 jobs at its factory in Swindon on January 11, blaming a sales slump across Europe. That’s an effect of austerity – people have less money to spend on cars which, apart from houses, are the most expensive investments ordinary working citizens can make.

Then camera retailer Jessops closed its 187 stores with the loss of 1,370 jobs on the same day – apparently blaming the rise in camera phones. That’s another effect of austerity – people won’t buy specialist photographic equipment they don’t think they can afford when they’ve got cameras as part of their mobile phones; lack of disposable income means they must try to make their purchases wisely.

Now HMV has run into trouble, seeking insolvency protection and putting 4,500 jobs at risk. The 91-year-old record store chain couldn’t compete with online firms such as Amazon, it seems. And no wonder – Amazon is cheaper, people can do their shopping at home and, of course, Amazon don’t pay their taxes.

I reckon that’s around 6,670 people whose jobs are either lost or in serious jeopardy, because of austerity policies fuelled by managers’ greed. It is heads of industry who advise the government, and their advice (as I’ve previously stated) has always been to ensure that workers’ pay is low, so their own salary increases can be high – 800 per cent more over the past 30 years. I keep harping on about that because, as figures go, it’s such a whopper that it needs special attention.

But the policy has backfired because these people have failed to account for the fact that it is the working and unemployed poor who spend most of their money on the products their companies sell. With no money to spare, the companies lose revenue and have to make cutbacks. Now even fewer people are economically active and there is even less money to spare.

More companies hit the wall. Without sincere and concentrated effort to halt the process, a cascade effect could kick in, leading to – as I mentioned only a few days ago – economic ruin.

I take no pleasure at all from seeing my own prediction coming to fruition so quickly.

So, returning to Mr Benn’s comments at the top of this piece, what will Labour – Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – do about it?

And the answer is: More of the same.

What are they playing at?

Labour’s ‘Job Guarantee’ will, according to Boycott Workfare, “give billions of taxpayers’ money to subsidise big private businesses – probably the likes of failing and government contract-reliant A4E, and workfare-users ASDA – helping them to drive up their profit margins. It guarantees to further undermine real job vacancies as companies replace job roles with subsidised compulsory short-term placements.

“Labour, like the Coalition government, also now guarantee to undermine the idea of a living wage, which just two months ago Ed Milliband appeared to champion. After all if a company can get staff forced to work for it, both provided by and subsidised by the state at minimum wage, why pay the living wage?”

In spite of all the evidence, it seems Labour wants to make matters worse.

This is no good at all! When it comes to 2015, at this rate, voters won’t see any difference at all between Labour and the Tories.

It’s time for a complete change of plan. Labour needs to jettison all the nonsense it picked up during the New Labour years – along with any Shadow ministers who are still spouting it – and go back to its roots.

Work out a policy that actually supports industry, employment and prosperity, rather than the fatcats who are clearly corrupting all our politicians.

So, what about it, Ed Miliband?

When is that going to happen?

Or don’t you want to win?